Adopt an Elephant

In the last 40 years, African elephant populations have declined by 40%, if we do not act now this iconic keystone species will become extinct in our lifetime.

The African elephant is synonymous with our founder, the late David Shepherd CBE. His paintings inspired a new generation of conservationists, wildlife ambassadors, and artists alike. Today, DSWF has forged an even stronger connection with elephants, as we work with key conservation partners to save this iconic species. 

Just as David did, we believe the elephant, as a symbol of wild fortitude, can never be over-celebrated. Yet, despite being one of the world’s most recognisable and most-loved animals, elephants are in dire need of our help. 

As the primary target of the illegal ivory trade, elephant populations are being decimated. In as little as a century, the number of African elephants has plummeted from over 12 million to approximately 400,000. The elusive forest elephant has been hit the hardest. With severe declines of up to 62% over several decades, they are now listed as critically endangered. Their cousin, the savanna elephant, has not fared much better and is listed as endangered. In some geographical regions, elephant populations have been reduced by as much as 90%.  

When you adopt an elephant through David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, you’ll contribute directly to the vital frontline projects working to save this iconic species. And as well as elephant adoption, you can also make a donation here

How Much Does It Cost to Adopt a Elephant

  • Just £3 per month (or £36 per year) could promote human wildlife co-existence in Zambia through far reaching community engagement programmes.
  • Only £5 per month (or £47 per year) could protect the elephants of Kafue National Park with on-the-ground rangers and aerial patrols.
  • With £10 per month (or £60 per year) an orphaned baby elephant could be provided with vital emergency medical supplies and veterinary care.

What’s Included?

  • Adoption Pack: You’ll get a personalised certificate, a species fact sheet and animal bio sheet, a photograph and a copy of our latest Wildlife Matters magazine
  • Elephant Print: A stunning print of an African elephant sketch by the talented wildlife artist, Julie Rhodes. 
  • Elephant Toy: Optional hand-knitted elephant toy made by Little Ndaba, a women’s community group in Zambia.

Our adoption packs are only available to be posted within the UK. Alternatively you can opt to receive a digital adoption pack via sent email (print and toy not included).

Threats to the Elephant population

Illegal hunting and poaching

The biggest threat facing elephants today is the demand for their ivory. Illegal hunting and poaching can destroy the dynamics of a herd overnight, and decimate populations to the point they are unrecoverable. Traditional markets for ivory, such as China, have taken significant steps to ban the commercial trade of ivory products – but a thriving black market continues to supply demand across the globe. 

Habitat Loss

Only a fifth of habitat earmarked or designated as suitable for elephants is protected. And in many cases, the protection afforded to other areas creates isolated pockets of elephant populations, limiting their range, rather than providing much needed wildlife corridors or allowing them the freedom to roam the vast distances elephants are capable of travelling. 

Human-Wildlife Conflict 

As humans encroach on the fragile ecosystems inhabited by elephants, conflict becomes unavoidable. When threatened, elephants will actively defend their territory and food sources. As subsistence farming spreads across their range, more and more elephants take to crop-raiding in order to survive. As hard-hit communities look to defend their livelihoods and own food sources, both elephants and humans can be injured or killed in the aftermath. 

How Elephant Adoption Helps

When you sponsor an elephant, you help fund projects working with local communities to fight wildlife crime, reduce conflict, and raise awareness of the threats they face. In addition, your support can help us:  

  • Fight on your behalf to end the trade in ivory and the illegal killing of elephants.
  • Protect key elephant habitats by championing the heroic wildlife rangers on the frontline of conservation.
  • Engage at-risk communities who share their homes with wildlife and reduce human-elephant conflict.

Meet our Elephant species ambassador, Chamilandu

Adopt an elephant
Image credit: GRI

Chamilandu, lovingly known as Chamma, arrived at the elephant orphanage in 2007 after her mother was sadly killed by poachers.

From a young age, Chamma was a matriarchal figure to new orphans and was a vital part of their development whilst they progressed through the release programme.

In September 2019, now a fully grown adult Chamilandu gave birth to her first calf. Mutaanzi-David, named in honor our late founder, is the first wild-born calf ever to be born to a Zambian orphan elephant. Mother and calf are doing exceptionally well and have now fully reintegrated back into the wild.

By adopting an elephant with DSWF you are helping to secure a brighter future for Chamilandu, her calf, and other orphaned elephants.

We aim to dispatch all orders within 7 working days. Parcels are sent 2nd class untracked with Royal Mail. International delivery is unavailable.